Sullivans Cove Double Cask | 40.0% | Australia
Meet #56 | 18/10/14 | Hosted by Martin
Australia! The first taste from down under for the club, how would they stack up? Would we avoid stereotypes? Would we ever, maaate!
This is one fruity mother. Fruity but at the sweet end of the spectrum (no lychees here thankyouverymuch!) with bananas (whole or breaded), toffee apples, raspberry jam, pear drops, rum & raisin ice-cream and maple syrup leading the swatch up to the more acidic notes of orange oil, peel and cider vinegar.
Once our noses acclimatised we got all floral on your asses. Not literally of course, though that may have looked quite nice and generally improved things a bit. Hay, pine and chamomile drift nicely across what I presume is a real Cove represented here as a metaphor of a sort of smell-Cove standing in for the presumed real-Cove, Sullivanís Cove if you will, which the writer intends the reader to be imagining (Iíve just looked it up, it is of course real, please feel free to Google Image it (other search engines are available) if you canít be bothered imagining it, or check below where Iíve imagined it for you (Disclaimer: This imagining is not based on the supposed "real" Sullivanís Cove but comes solely from the imagination of the writer and is provided here gratis for the reader to use as required)). I mean, it doesn't smell much like a Cove but I still think the metaphor stands.
We bridge the floral to the smooth through parma violets and liquorice into chocolate and cream soda. A Crunchie, freshly snapped, tangs the end with a hint of leather and cloves. Please try to imagine the noise of the Crunchie snapping across the imagined smell-Cove, thanks. This is one weird CoveÖ
As I think of the name "Sullivan", as Iím sure we all do, I of course think of the American architect Louis Sullivan, so-called "father of skyscrapers" and "father of modernism". Well, despite his unfortunate decent into chronic financial problems and alcoholism towards the end of his distinguished career, this tastes surprisingly nothing like I imagine he would have tasted.
It starts medicinal and sweet, bonjela and glycerol move on to aniseed and Haribo, itís Tangfastics if youíre wondering but all the sweets are made of metal?
And then BANG! No, not a gun, weíre just suddenly back into the realm of fruit. The orange is stronger than on the nose and has muscled out most of the other fruits with orange oil, Cointreau and Pugwallís Summer dominating, and almost pushing into lime territory. It wonít like that, limes are notoriously territorial. There are softer fruits and sweetness here, a fruit scone with jam and cream, the texture of cheddar, maybe even with Eucalyptus honey and vanilla extract.
But the honeyís gone weird. Honey I Glazed The Barbie. Thatís it, thereís an underlying spice! Itís still creamy though, like spicy chocolate or burnt Christmas cake. This is fingernail-biting stuff, though I wouldnít if I were you as thereís a hint of cracked black pepper and Bitrex in the spice.
In 1896, Louis Sullivan wrote in a poem:
It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic,
Of all things physical and metaphysical,
Of all things human, and all things super-human,
Of all true manifestations of the head,
Of the heart, of the soul,
That the life is recognizable in its expression,
That form ever follows function.
And that any Cove so-named after me should be used to produce slightly disappointing whisky. This is the law.
I think we can all agree that those sentiments still ring true today.
The flags were up, ready to roll.
Finish & Comments
Let me "pepp-er" you for the finish. That was a joke playing off the word "pepper" which said in the correct way can sound like the word "prepare". The joke hangs off the reader being prepared to read the next section, coupled to the fact that the finish is very peppery. Enjoy. We have peppercorns in both regular, and the embedded-in-chocolate-by-The-Chocolate-Tree pink variety. Thereís even the soft rocket pepper and as it sinks away itís earthy like nutmeg and denim, but with the sharpness of blood.
Thereís still sweetness here but itís tired now. Thereís spicy baked custard - Leche Merengada to be precise Ė but with marzipan and cola bottles sinking towards the end.
We were split on this length. Some thought medium but some thought long, suggesting a tricksy end to the dram. Imagine Mitchell Johnson's run-up when he's trying to trick the batsman into thinking he's bowling a slower ball. It was longer than a dingo's doodaa (longer than you'd think according to some), some even as long as Bondi Beach. A couple thought shorter than a bunyip's whiskers, total Crash Bandicoot.
We then got sidetracked on how long a Kangaroo's gestation period was leading to the discovery that the noble kangaroo was one of the most popular searches surrounding abnormal vaginal counts.
We just about settled on medium, generally thought of as Mitchell Johnsonís resultant ball from above, or Tony Abott's political future. Itís Sunday afternoon swimming in the billabong (watch out for that bunyip though), a pure surfer's delight or a shark's fin.
We've always scored out of 10 in our group (see number in red box, below), with scores regularly given across that spectrum. The value out of 100 below is adjusted to the scale most commonly used for whisky reviews, to allow for better comparison.
72 / 100
Detailed scores (out of 10)
Ali G: 3.5
Tasting Game Points (out of 6)
Ali G: 2.5
[ for other thoughts on whisky and more in-depth activities of the group, check out whisky on meiotic